Canadian Cycling Magazine



When to go

The summer is the best time to visit the Alps. The snow can be tenacious though. Stage 9 of the 2019 Tour de Suisse was supposed to be a variation of our three passes ride, but snow held on to Susten Pass into late June so organizers had to design a new route. Our final ride was on Sept. 3. It snowed in Hospental on Sept. 6.

What to carry

When you ride i n the mountains, carry cash. Restaurant­s at the tops of passes often don’t take credit or debit. Also, ride with lights. A strong rear light is essential in tunnels and on foggy days.

How to stay connected

I used an Alwaysonli­ne Wireless (aow) sim card for data in Switzerlan­d and later at Eurobike in Germany. I didn’t have voice or text, but messaging services such as Whatsa pp are so widely used in Europe that I felt well-connected. The only thing to keep in mind with aow is that you need a new plan each time you enter a different country. When I travelled to Switzerlan­d, then Germany and then back to Switzerlan­d, I had to make sure I had three plans lined up, which can add up.

How to skip a pass to take on another one

On weekends starting in late June and into September, you can put your bike on a diesel train for free. Had we known this fact beforehand, and had the weather been a bit more co-operative, we would have skipped Furka Pass one day to then ride Nufenen Pass and the Tremola side of Gotthard. The train would have been a great option for avoiding a second day with more than 3,000 m of climbing for something more chill, in the 2,000 m range, on new-to-us roads.

What to ride

We had bmc Roadmachin­es on our trip: Swiss bikes for Swiss rides. The Roadmachin­e 01 One came with sram Red etap axs running 46/33-tooth chainrings and a 10-33 tooth cassette. Those gears were great for getting over the climbs. The carbon-fibre endurance frame with compliance built into the seatpost, seatstays and fork rode nicely on the cobbles of Tremola.

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